It’s our first morning on the go. We wake up to that familiar yet undefinable smell of Asia, and look out at the palm trees and rain forest nearby. Let’s go get breakfast. Wham! Oh yeah, we forgot that it’s hot – all the time.
Breakfast is a simple meal of cereal and juice – followed by bacon, eggs, pancakes, muffins and breakfast pizza (I kid you not). It’s sort of cute to see the peacocks wandering between the tables, until we realise they are trying to pinch the best bits off your plate. Still, there’s plenty to go round so we ignore them and enjoy our simple repast.
What to do for the day? We reckon the cable car across to the city might be fun and ask the concierge how to get there. “No problem, just catch the Number 3 bus to the station and then change to the Number 1 bus for the lookout and you’ll find the cable car station at the top.” This isn’t as bad as it sounds, and soon we’re floating gently above the waves. We skip the waterfront stop and continue to the peak at the other end of the line. There’s a nice view and a park with lots of jungle, but it’s hot so we decide waterfront wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
We share our return cable car with an older guy from some part of eastern Europe, and a young guy from India. About half-way across the first stretch, the cable stops suddenly and we’re treated to a special thrill as our car plunges down a few metres and then springs up into the air like a tourist on a low budget bungee cord. The older guy is really fired up and starts stamping about the tiny space and cursing in some unknown tongue. The rest of us try to estimate our chances if we had to jump the hundred metres or so to the jungle below. After what seems like and hour, but was probably only fifteen minutes, the cable jerks back into life and we’re off. Surprisingly, everyone got off at the next stop. We elect to try the monorail back to Sentosa – just for something different. It’s quite a hike from the cable car stop to the monorail, but hey, the weather app says it’s only 32 degrees (it also says “feels like 41”).
… Sentosa gives you the impression that someone wanted to recreate the whole of the Gold Coast and Disneyland in one small space. You can lie on the beach, indoor skydive, climb a lion or do what about a million others are doing – just walk around. We elect for the walk around option, with a quick visit to the iconic Merlion statue that’s the symbol of Singapore.
It’s now 6:45pm and we’ve made our way back into the city to meet our friend Z. We met Z on a beach somewhere else a few years ago and he told us to look him up if we’re ever in Singapore. We’re at what we think is the rendezvous point at a huge shopping centre. Nanette looks concerned. “There’s so many people – how will we recognise Z?” There certainly are a lot of people, but I remind her that Z will probably have a pretty easy job spotting two lost foreigners standing in the mall. After all, we’ll be the ones not carrying Armani shopping bags. Sure enough, he finds us and we’re soon on the way to dinner at an outdoor food spot by the sea. The place has dozens of stalls with a mix of local dishes and exotic foods all the way from places like – Malaysia. We skip the steamed shark’s head, but still manage to find a tasty and exotic collection, accompanied by cups of fresh sugar cane juice (which, surprise surprise, is quite sweet).
Finally it’s time for bed, so Z and his friend B drive us back to Sentosa. Z, who is a mine of local knowledge, takes the long route so we can experience some of the real Singapore on the way. A Malay district is festooned with spectacular multi-coloured light displays as part of Ramadan celebrations. Another district has lights too, but only one colour (red). We’re really enjoying discovering things about this diverse and vibrant city when, all too soon, we’re back on the bridge to Sentosa. As we pull into our hotel, I wonder briefly if the angry guy from the cable car had as good a day as we did. Probably not.